answering a FAQ for using the search engine
First, try increasing the number of banks and credit unions you see in your list. Each initial search shows five institutions, but you can add the next five and the next by clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the list.
If your favorite banking option still isn’t on the list, or has a lower score than you expected, it might be because of the particular metric we use.
When we started this project, we mainly featured banks and credit unions which have specific banking designations or those that strive to serve underserved populations. However, not everyone has banks like this in their area, and we wanted a way to compare all banking options in a city or neighborhood, including banks and credit unions. Banks and credit unions are required to provide different kinds of data, limiting somewhat the data we could use for both. Eventually, we decided to look for banking institutions that do significant amounts of small business and housing lending, as well as banks that are small, local, and located in low-income census tracts—those that offer wealth-building loans and serve their communities, even lower-income communities.
If your favorite bank or credit union doesn’t rate well by our metric, it may be because these banks do more alternative lending, or because they’re so small that they are unable to do much lending at all, or several other reasons. It doesn’t mean they’re bad banks, and you may know something about your favorite bank that our metric doesn’t measure. But a low score does mean you might want to do some extra homework (or contact us to do some of that homework for you) to find out why your bank doesn’t score well.
The question comes back to whether your banking practices reflect your values. Our search engine can help you answer that question positively by letting you look at ALL of your banking options in a given area.